Bangladesh government clamping down on the internet: The revenge of Digital BAKSAL

A new kind of censorship appears to be taking form in Bangladesh, with the national telecoms regulator moving to throttle upload bandwidth by 75%, while the PM Sheikh Hasina extols the success of her Digital Bangladesh, which is  increasingly being understood as a facade.

In a time of political contestation this cannot be read as a simple managerial issue targeting illegal Voice over IP traffic. It is very timely for the government in that it hinders further video uploads of its atrocities and creative engagement with the internet.

Context of censorship
  • Editor of Amar Desh Mahmudur Rahman still languishes in jail, tortured and mostly forgotten.
  • Founder of Diganta TV Mir Quasem Ali has now been in government detention for nearly 1 year.
  • Diganta TV and Islamic TV have been shut down for daring to screen live footage of the massacre in Dhaka on 6th May.
  • YouTUbe
  • Friends of social media are increasingly guarded over speaking about May 6th events, unless they have spine.
  • English language papers like The Daily Star and The Dhaka Tribune, continue to proudly fly the government cause and flag.
  • The Facebook opposition group Basherkella has been closed down and restarted several times in recent months.
  • BBC Bengali service is shamelessly spinning for the government regarding the story of finding prosecution-turned defence witness Shokronjan Bali in an Indian Jail. The RAW-BBC-Daily Star axis has aligned against the David Bergman-New Age-Human Rights Watch-Al Jazeera axis on this.
What to do
  • Don't waste bandwidth repeating stuff, make every character count.
  • Find workarounds. Preserve anonymity.
  • Migrate to blogs from facebook.
  • Pay attention to dirty tricks.
  • Rather than video, use still images connected with text.
  • Challenge the authorities that made this possible
The ability to reflect, organise and enact ideas is fundamental to living and learning and Creation > Consumption


Nabil Ahsan said...

Well said. But people in bd are hooked into fb. Blogs are read by limited individuals. So the main campaign should revolve around fb in the bangladesh context

Seeker said...

Good piece, Fug, but disappointed that you failed to mention others e.g. Sheersha News shut down, editor detained and tortured, Channel 1 etc

Fugstar said...

FB is consumer technology and doesn't promote reflection, just near mindless replication and imitation. I am not interested in such a campaign, or such a neo-liberal islamism.

I wasnt aware of them. will look up their stories.